Soccer looks to recover from injuries

A primary concern for the Illinois soccer team (6-3-2, 1-1-1 Big Ten) this week is how it can recoup from the injuries sustained this weekend against Iowa and Nebraska.

Senior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo went down with a knee sprain and is still day-to-day. Hope D’Addario also went down with a fractured clavicle and is out eight to 10 weeks.

Senior defender Christina Farrell sustained a hip injury and was a game-time decision for the Nebraska match. Farrell played all 90 minutes and was in on multiple tackles and defensive stops. While the injury hampered her play, she seemed to not let it stop her.

“It’s painful, but it’s my last season,” Farrell said. “So I want to be there for my team and do what I can.”

With a team that makes a lot of substitutions during matches, such a depleted roster greatly affected the game plan. Illinois was not able to switch out players as much as it usually does.

“If you take the best player off of any team in the Big Ten, it changes what we have to do,” head coach Janet Rayfield said. “It changes how we rotate players. It changes how dangerous we can be in terms of that.”

But this team has proved time and again that it is deep and versatile. Sophomore Allina Weykamp was used on the defensive end at right fullback while senior defender Kassidy Brown moved to centerback to replace Farrell in the Iowa match. With this in mind, Rayfield and the team try not to make excuses.

“There’s a lot of players in the Big Ten that probably aren’t 100 percent,” Rayfield said. “And you got to go through games, and everybody’s missing a player here and there.”

Flaws tied for most goals in Big Ten

After scoring one goal against Iowa and two against Nebraska, junior forward Jannelle Flaws is tied for the most goals scored in the Big Ten this season. She and Penn State’s Maya Hayes have scored 12 goals in 11 games.

Flaws played 90 minutes in both games and was continually making runs and applying pressure when the opposing defense was both with and without the ball. Despite missing key players, Flaws knew the game plan against Nebraska needed to stay consistent.

“(We wanted) just to play our game,” Flaws said. “To keep moving off the ball. Obviously wish we had (DiBernardo) on the field, but it’s game time. You can’t change it.”

Big Ten standings

With its Big Ten record at 1-1-1, Illinois remains in the middle of the pack at sixth place in the conference standings. The conference remains tight, with eight of the teams within one point of each other. Northwestern is the only team to not have a conference win through three matches.

The immediate schedule won’t get any easier as the Illini go on the road Friday against Purdue (6-4-1, 1-2-0) and Sunday against Indiana (8-2-1, 1-2-0). Both teams rank in the top half of the Big Ten in goals scored this season. Purdue is third with 29 and Indiana is sixth with 23.

Alex can be reached at [email protected] and @AlexOrtiz2334.